Prepare Your House for Travel

Your friends will thank you!

Before a trip, there are obvious to-do lists like packing and grabbing passports, but, to help ease that nasty jet-lag you’ll return with, I suggest preparing your house for your arrival. What do I mean? Leaving your home a mess will only sky-rocket your tiredness into aggression when you return. So, why not think ahead and prepare your house for travel with a few tips I live by?


Call your bank and inform them of your upcoming travel dates. If you don’t tell them and start using your credit card in a foreign country, they may turn off your credit card access and claim they detect fraudulent behavior. It’s a fair assumption. It could NOT be you. It’s one of those really annoying and really kind things they do for us. Avoid all of this stress with a little communication.

Also, while I’m on this, check to make sure your credit cards aren’t expiring soon. Awkward!


If you’ve got a house sitter, make sure you don’t forget to leave them a key as I did. I had already been on the road for about 20 minutes when I remembered and had to turn around.


Your dog-sitter needs a key to the house, along with their check. For your pet, remember to buy enough food, have them groomed and trimmed, and pull out any toys that rolled under the bed. They’re most definitely going to miss you, so make the separation a little easier with some of their favorite toys and maybe a blanket that smells like you.


When I go out of town, I had the option to pause my gym memberships. It’s a good way to save some extra bucks. Check with your gym and see if that’s something you can do.


If you’re going to be away for some time, it might be best to communicate with the post office by either calling them 1-800-ASK-USPS or complete a “hold mail” form in person. They will hold your mail while you’re away for 3-30 days.

You could also have someone pick up your mail every day, too.  As long as your mailbox isn’t overflowing making your home a giant target, it’s all good.


Prepare your phone for travel with a plan. Either purchase SIM cards, an international plan or turn on your airplane mode and hook onto WIFI casually.

Did I ever tell you of the time I lost all of my identification and credit cards in London? No? Well, it happened. When I landed, I was able to call my credit card company through WiFi and cancel all of my cards.  Luckily Josh hadn’t lost any of his IDs and money… and he was carrying my passport. That was a crazy trip.


Your green friends need to be accounted for, as well, so make sure to have a system put into play so you don’t come back to dead leaves and a stinky odor.


If you’re flying to your destination, it may be a good idea to stow away your car in the garage or somewhere safe. I also like to leave our car with a full tank of gas. It’s one less thing to do when I get back.  


Regardless of whether the appliance is on or off if it’s plugged in, it’s using electricity. Do your electric bill a favor and unplug everything.


Depending on how smart your house is, you may have “vacation mode” on your thermostat and water heater. I recommend switching the dial to this setting to conserve energy and prepare your house for travel.


A simple, bright light in the night can ward off robbers. If you think it’s necessary, install motion detecting light to help keep your house safe while you’re away.


There are really cool contraptions that can turn on and off your TV and lights to make it look like people are home. This, like the motion detecting lights, are predominately used to stay safe.


Before you set to sail, clean out your fridge of anything that has or will expire during your trip. In doing so, you won’t run the risk of coming back to a smelly house. When you prepare your house for travel, you may find yourself decluttering your life a bit, too. Ahh, the sweet sound of simplicity!


It can feel very stressful to clean your house when you’re about to go on a trip but planning ahead like this can help relieve your stress upon returning. Leave your house clean to make your “after-the-trip” transition as smooth as possible.


Now that you’ve cleaned the house, take all that trash out. No use in keeping it inside the house.


It may seem like an unnecessary thing to do, but I highly recommend leaving your bed with fresh sheets. There’s nothing better than coming back, showering and going straight to bed to sleep off the jetlag. After all, on the day of your return you’re still technically on vacation, right?


I’m not saying you have to do all your laundry before your trip, but I do think it’s a good idea to keep it empty. This way, when you return you can just dump your suitcase right into the washer. This is something I’ve been doing since I was a very young traveler.


If only your boss knows you’ve gone on holiday, it may be a good idea to have an away message. This way everyone knows why you aren’t answering and contributing to all the chaos that will ensue while you are away.  


Obviously, you need a passport for international travel. I recommend copying, printing and emailing yourself a copy of your passport. You can never be too prepared.


To prepare your house for travel, make sure to pay any current or upcoming bills, which includes car, rent/mortgage, insurance, phone, cable/internet and debt.


If you travel like us and your days are jam-packed with activities, your phone is likely to die. I recommend writing down and carrying important information and phone numbers before your trip.


Although very controversial, I recommend at least looking at which vaccinations are recommended for your travel destination. Author Bob Goff was told to get his malaria shot before traveling to Belize. Long story short – He didn’t and got Malaria. Just consider it.


Along the same lines, make sure you have enough of what you need for the duration of your trip. I am an anxious traveler, so I really get how important prescription medication can be. :]


The world is not only a beautiful place to be explored, but it can also be very dangerous. Check your travel advisory and be in-the-know. Keep an eye on the weather, too, to make sure there isn’t anything like hurricanes that could ruin your vacation plans.


It’s fun to post your adventures on social media but remember that this could communicate to others that you’re not home. Think twice about who you allow to look at your content and what you are posting.


Consider hiding important documents or locking away important jewelry.  Keep them out of sight from windows to prepare your house for travel.


Double. Triple check to make sure all points of entry are secured before departing.

When you prepare your house for travel, you’re prone to feel more at peace during your vacation. Have a great trip!

What did I miss? Leave it in the comments!

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